I teach a ukulele building class every summer. It is great fun!
It’s a six day immersion retreat and folks come from across the country to spend a day the the Folk School. This class is the modle for what the Folk School is to become.
Every time I teach this class folks seem to come out of the woodwork that are local and don’t want to take a week’s vacation for a class (Ironically these same folks will take a week and go to residential retreats in othere areas.) I’ve never been able to pull it together. The issues are:
• Folks don’t sign up. I offered a 12 week course at the Indianapolis Art Center and only two people signed up.
• We have to lease a shop. This works for six days when the shop is in use all of the time, but it become problematic when we tie up someone elses shop for six to twelve weeks.
• We had an opportunity to set up a semi-permanent shop in a smei-permanent home in July. I taught my regular ukulele
building class there (It was great) but things were up-in-the-air regarding how long we would be in the space and how the space could best be used by us.
• Luthiery is very specialized woodworking and an instrument building workshop requires a number of specialized set-ups. These tie up bench space and instructional space for other classes and projects.
• I am worried about the level of student commitment. Every multi-week class that we offer suffers from attrition. Folks find that they have schedule changes, get tired of the drive or simply lose interest. Ukulele building is complex. If a student misses a session it would be very difficult for the student to catch up.
The good news is that we have secured the Judge Stone House and our favorite workspace for three more months. With this level of commitment by our hosts we are able to clean and establish more instructional and storage space. In short, we’ve worked around most of our difficulties.
We’re focusing on a simplified uke, the cigar box uke. Cigar box ukes simplify the process (but not as much as you think) and decrease cost (but not as much as you think) and play very well. The most important aspects of ukulele building and design remain in the process. It’s a great first step into luthiery.
We have no control over the first and last worries. We’ll see if folks sign up (I sure hope so!) and keep coming to class.
Cigar Box Ukulele Building
4 or 5 Tuesday Evenings Begining October 19
7:00 – 9:00
Tuition $200, Materials $98
Build a high quality soprano cigar box ukulele. These ukuleles feature first rate tuners, strings, pearl dot inlays, cedar or spruce tops and Indiana hardwood fingerboard and neck. These are not cigar box ukuleles assembled from kits, but custom designed for the cigar box that you choose.
Plan to attend all class sessions. This is a pilot class so an extra session is planned to ensure that projects are completed.
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